Peru ECS | Hike to Huayna Picchu; the El Dorado of the ECS
Part One: Hike to Huayna Picchu - Alex Y. ‘18
In only three days of our Peru trip, we have already experienced so much. Today, after spending the night before traveling to Aguas Calientes, we began our day by taking a bus to the famous Machu Picchu. The bus ride gave us a glimpse of the amazing view we were about to see at Machu Picchu-but the ruins were not the only attraction. At around seven in the morning, we began to hike Huayna Picchu -an amazing mountain that allows hikers to see Machu Picchu and the scenery that surrounds it from 1000 feet above. We watched as the overpowering current from the Urubamba river surged below us. The hike to the summit of Huayna Picchu was around 45 minutes both ways-climbing steep sets of stairs that the Incas built long before our ECS.
Over time the morning fog and sunken clouds were replaced by a warm sunshine. We were extremely lucky to have such incredible weather, especially in a place that is typically very rainy. The hike up to the summit was reminiscent of the incline in Colorado, only it was made around 500 years earlier. The stairs leading to the summit would have been easy for the Incas to climb, but for us, it was a challenge. There were many picturesque scenes that would have been postcard-worthy but it is impossible to grasp just how incredible the view is without going there yourself. We took many pictures at the summit and on the way down the mountain. It was essential to watch our footing on the narrow steps, but our guides made sure we treaded carefully.
Once we made it back to the ruins at Machu Picchu, we were all tired from the strenuous hike; however, we still had many more ruins and places to see.
Part Two: The El Dorado of the ECS - Annika W. ‘18
After the hike, the Peru ECS had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the most famous Incan ruins, Machu Picchu. We were lucky to get there early enough in the morning to take some pictures with fewer people than there were in the afternoon. A few alpacas greeted us in the main field, where we were told celebrations, dancing, singing, and drinking took place in the ancient Times. The Incans knew how to have a good time. They were also undoubtedly incredible architects. The stone buildings, narrow staircases, and stone roof supporters are mind-blowing. This may sound impressive and all, but we managed to weave around an ancient city packed with people and distractions, wielding our large tourist cameras without losing a single student. Carlos and Mario, our guides, would have given any Incan emperor a run for his money, as they led us around the ruins through packs of tourists, some dangerously wielding selfie sticks and kept track of 16 squirming, slightly sunburned and hungry students. In all seriousness, the ruins more tranquil and beautiful; visiting Machu Picchu was an unforgettable experience. The scenery was green and thriving, any accomplishments of those who live hundreds of years ago we’re humbling, to say the least. Photographs cannot capture its beauty and words cannot describe the enormity below us, a river rushed by that was intimidating to look at even from the top of the mountain. Waterfalls were tucked away in the jungle all around us. I don’t think I will ever find another experience like this. We’re just days into this adventure and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.